Doctor Impossible's main nemesis is dead, which would be great
if the good Doctor had not just escaped from prison in time
to be accused of the murder. With an evil genius at large
The New Champions reform, including new member
Fatale, part woman part robot, to catch Doctor Impossible
and avenge the death of CoreFire, before Impossible can take
over the world...
I Will be Invincible is the debut novel by Austin Grossman
who is a Harvard graduate, a games designer and is presently
working on his English Doctorate.
is really refreshing, having waded through more genre novels
than I care to remember, to come across one that presents
a thoughtful, amusing and refreshing slant on the subject
of super heroes - whose recent glut of mostly mediocre films
and television is in danger of turning the subject once again
story of Invincible is told mainly from the perspective
of Doctor Impossible, one time geek, loser and all round existential
angst suffering genius, and the cyborg Fatale, whose unexpected
elevation into the big league of crime fighting isn't what
she was expecting. Neurosis abounds on both sides of the good
and evil fence, but then if it were real, it probably would.
The book is very much in the mould of Alan Moore's nineteen
eighty-six Watchman, in that it is an attempt to deconstruct
the usual super heroes myth. At points it has the gritty hues
of Frank Miller's The
Dark Knight Returns, laced with a liberal sprinkling
of absurdist humour.
the book is divided into three sections, which alternates
each of the chapter's perspective between Fatale and Impossible.
Slowly, as the book progresses, we get to know the real origins
story of these two characters as well as the negative side
of being super powered. If, like Fatale, you're a cyborg and
one of the good guys then your motivation is pretty straight
forward, but motivation wont pay the bills or buy expensive
replacement part. Being an evil genius is an even more difficult
gig, first there are certain expectations of you: the evil
laugh, the desire to tell the good guys exactly what your
up to and worst of all, what to do with the world even if
you did conquer it. I remember in a particularly personal
Victor Meldrew moment deciding that I could do a better job
of running the world until I remembered what life was like
for Augustus Caesar, who really did rule the known world and
spent every hour god sent in what sounded like the dullest
admin job you can imagine.
uses this mix of the real and the absurd - the plan's not
exactly thought through and the difficulties of taking over
the world whilst dressed like a Christmas piñata is
used to give his two principle characters depth and shading.
Impossible's musings on the difference between the super villain
and super heroes engage the reader's sympathy and understanding.
After a while you'll find that you will tend to agree with
him that super heroes offer very little when not fighting
someone, but super villains will always have their intelligence
book is awash with cultural references, whether it is to comic
books - most of the characters are recognisable archetypes
- or even to pastiches on Narnia. Just trying to get them
all adds another rich layer to the book.
mention should go to the presentation of the book. I was lucky
enough to have been sent the hardback version, which included
five full colour faked up Champions comic book covers
as well as a double page spread showing the evolution of the
dust jackets artwork and a double page illustration of the
Battle on Titan, making the book a nice object to own.
offers a funny, thoughtful and totally engrossing read. If
you don't buy this novel you'll be missing out on one of the
best genre books this year.